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Last NSPCC centre in Norfolk to close

PUBLISHED: 12:23 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:26 03 July 2010

NORFOLK'S last NSPCC base which acts as a lifeline for hundreds of vulnerable children and families is to be axed, it was confirmed last night.

The charity blamed a lack of funds for the decision to shut the county's only remaining branch after its Gorleston centre closed a few years ago.

NORFOLK'S last NSPCC base which acts as a lifeline for hundreds of vulnerable children and families is to be axed, it was confirmed last night.

The charity blamed a lack of funds for the decision to shut the county's only remaining branch after its Gorleston centre closed a few years ago.

It means the nearest support for needy Norfolk children and families will be 45 miles away at the Ipswich base. But this deals with investigating protection situations rather than giving the support offered by the county's service at Arthur Brett House in Norwich.

The decision is part of a nationwide round of closures in a bid to save £1m and means while people can get telephone advice nationally there will no longer be vital local support after the closures take place at the end of January.

Centre programmes such as Freedom and Kids Without Fear, which help children and parents who are the victims of domestic violence will no longer be run.

And resource workers who come from social work backgrounds will no longer be employed by the centre to go out into the community and to schools.

NSPCC divisional director Safron Rose said: “Like many other organisations and charities, the NSPCC is having to make some tough choices.

“Sadly some cost reductions are required in order to be as efficient as possible whilst safeguarding children and young people.

“Whilst it is very regrettable that this decision has had to be made, there is a need to take such action to help ensure the long term viability of the range of services provided by the NSPCC across the UK.”

Antony Little, leader of the conservative group at Norwich City Council, who has campaigned to keep the centre open said he was “stunned”.

“The troubles of the people it helps are still going to be there after the centre closes, they are not going to go away, particularly children in domestic violence situations.

“The question is who is going to support those people now it has gone. Either it will put more pressure on already stretched statutory services or families will go without support and that is quite scandalous.”

One woman who used the centre's Freedom programme, which helps victims of domestic violence find ways to protect themselves and their children, said it was a “huge loss”.

“That programme really helped me and in turn it really helped my kids. I don't know what people will do now,” said the woman, who did not want to be named.

The NSPCC's Norfolk Project costs in the region of £320,000 a year to operate.

Last year ChildLine dealt with more than 800 calls from children and young people in Norfolk, while more than 1,000 adults in Norfolk called the NSPCC helpline on behalf of children whom they believed to be in need of protection.


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